[cairo] Re: License for cairo changed to LGPL

Bryce Harrington bryce at osdl.org
Tue Aug 3 23:10:43 PDT 2004

On Tue, 3 Aug 2004, Carl Worth wrote:
> > In fact three GUI toolkits use LGPL with special binary linkage
> > exception clauses. R. Stallman has reviewed and OK'd the wxWindows
> > version.  These licenses were developed after lots of debate, hashing,
> > etc., over years.  Here are the links. Read and enjoy.  Cairo might
> > consider something close.
> OK. So the concern addressed by these modifications to the LGPL is to
> make explicit an allowance for static linking of proprietary software
> with an unmodified library. I would probably be willing to accept an
> addendum to allow this explicitly, but here are the barriers I see:
> 	1) It would have to be written carefully, and should be reviewed
>            by an attorney with experience in such matters.
> 	2) Besides my approval, we would also need to get the approval
>            of all 30 or so people that have contributed to cairo
> 	3) I'm not convinced it's actually necessary or beneficial. It
> 	   seems to me that the LGPL already makes sufficient provision
> 	   for static linking.

At OSDL we have also been hearing a complaint from business users of
Linux that may be considered an additional barrier.  Each open source
license in a collection of code (such as a distro) that a company wishes
to adopt requires separate review by the company's lawyers (and thus
additional expense/time/risk).  The diversity of licensing in open
source is considered by some to be an inhibitor to its adoption.  This
point indicates that if one is interested in corporate adoption of the
given piece of software, that the use of one of the common licenses
(such as the LGPL) in an unmodified fashion, would be the optimal

Ironically, I think that adding exception clauses to clarify the binary
linking allowance would actually make the licensing *less* clear and
*more* difficult for vendors of proprietary software that wish to link
to the library.  Corporate customers will be aware and knowledgeable of
LGPL, and will most likely already have the legal implications figured
out, and I think Cairo's adoption of it is a step in the right


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